July 10th, 2004

cat quilt painting

Family musings

On the road, earlier this month, to an annual convention where I of course saw lots of people I know and many more I don't, ate too much at restaurants, and came home exhausted. what fun.

Got home on Thursday the first, and Mom has been with us since, on loan from my brother who was needing to take a busload of kids to a youth convention, and to give my sister-in-law a needed break. Mom is here until Monday when I'll take her north to another brother or three, who will host her until the family reunion in early August.

She's 92 and still able to travel, which says something salutory about the DNA. Her older sister will be 94 in August; the next brother down turned 90 last December, and this spring stopped off at our house in the midst of one of his semiannual solo road trips between New York and Florida. He thinks he might decide, sometime, to stop driving so far by himself, but he's not convinced yet.

The youngest uncle in that family, a mere 86 or 87, and his lovely wife will be our hosts for the reunion. A couple of years ago he did his last (for about the fourth time) round-the-world trip, mostly in India and Bangladesh where he was a missionary 50 years ago, and is still well respected as an elder statesman in the church there.

This tendency to outlast most people is fairly evident throughout the family tree. If Heinlein's fictional Howard family were to take shape in this world, it could do worse than begin with such stock. The oldest relation I can trace was Louis DeMaranville Jr., who lost both arms in the Revolutionary War and lived to at least 110. His father is also said by some to have made it to 110, but I go with the more conservative reading of the stories and say we can't confirm that he was born much earlier than 1677, which would make him not less than 96, though all witnesses say he was at least 100 or so at death.

All of that gives me a personal stake in the survival and well-being of the planet for the next half-century or so, since I have every ambition to outdo my forbears and equal Moses, who climbed a mountain at 120 and "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated."
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